In Defiance of Hitler: The Secret Mission of Varian Fry (Hardcover)

The Secret Mission of Varian Fry

By Carla Killough McClafferty

Farrar Straus Giroux, 9780374382049, 196pp.

Publication Date: September 2, 2008



On August 4, 1940, an unassuming American journalist named Varian Fry made his way to Marseilles, France, carrying in his pockets the names of approximately two hundred artists and intellectuals all enemies of the new Nazi regime. As a volunteer for the Emergency Rescue Committee, Fry's mission was to help these refugees flee to safety, then return home two weeks later. As more and more people came to him for assistance, however, he realized the situation was far worse than anyone in America had suspected and his role far greater than he had imagined. He remained in France for over a year, refusing to leave until he was forcibly evicted.

At a time when most Americans ignored the atrocities in Europe, Varian Fry engaged in covert operations, putting himself in great danger, to save strangers in a foreign land. He was instrumental in the rescue of over two thousand refugees, including the novelist Heinrich Mann and the artist Marc Chagall.

About the Author

CARLA KILLOUGH MCCLAFFERTY is the author of the acclaimed The Head Bone's Connected to the Neck Bone: The Weird, Wacky, and Wonderful X-ray and, most recently, Something Out of Nothing: Marie Curie and Radium, an ALA Best Book, among other honors. She lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

Praise For In Defiance of Hitler: The Secret Mission of Varian Fry

"Rescue stories bring hope to the Holocuast darkness, and this stirring account of a young New York City journalist who secretly helped over 2000 refugees escape Nazi-occupied France blends exciting adventure with the grim history." Starred, Booklist
“The author’s clear language makes the chronological story thrilling.  She gives useful historical background to the individual saga and provides a lot of wonderful photos . . . . Highly recommended.” —Starred, Jewish Book World Magazine
“Period photographs help to flesh out the story, and an appendix provides brief follow-up biographies of some of the others involved. An interesting read that shines a light on a hitherto little-known figure.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Numerous black-and-white photographs of the period and individuals who worked closely with Fry augment the readable and well-documented text. This is an intriguing look at how life completely changed for so many and how ingenuity and daring used by a few outwitted the enemy and saved lives.” —School Library Journal

“McClafferty takes a fascinating, in-depth look at journalist Varian Fry’s operation as he worked beneath the noses of the Gestapo to bring people to safety.” —VOYA

“This book is a valuable addition to sources about the Holocaust for young people . . . should be included in the libraries of all secondary schools, and the book provides a vivid example of an individual taking great personal risks on behalf of the needs of others.”
ALAN Online Review

“End matter comprising bibliography, index, quotation sources, and an appendix discussing the later years of ERC members will be useful for student research.” —Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books

“Her [Carla Killough McClafferty] writing is sturdy, straightforward and unadorned.” —Arkansas Times